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Orson Welles Essay

935 words - 4 pages

History of CinemaTerm PaperOrson WellesThe term 'genius' was applied to him from the cradle, first by the man who would vie with Orson's father to nurture the talent all agreed resided in the fragile boy.(Leaming, 3)George Orson Welles was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin on May 6, 1915. He was the second son of Richard Head Welles, an inventor, and his wife Beatrice Ives, a concert pianist. His mother was the child of a wealthy family. She had been brought up to revere artistic achievements, and began playing the piano, professionally, only after her marriage broke up when Orson was six. A local doctor, Russian-Jewish orthopedist named Maurice Bernstein, who was a passionate admirer of Mrs. Welles, on first sight of the infant Orson declared him to be without a doubt a genius. Bernstein showered Orson with gifts and virtually took over the direction of his life, to such an extent that Orson called him 'Dadda'.When Orson was four, his father moved his family to Chicago, possibly to get away from Bernstein's attentions. This plan failed when Bernstein almost immediately followed them. Through Bernstein who was always forcing him to perform, and through his mother musical talents, the young Orson quickly came into contact with Chicago's musical society and walked on in the Chicago Opera's production of 'Samson and Delilah', then in a more important role of Butterfly's love-child Trouble in 'Madame Butterfly'. He also got a temporary job dressed up as a rabbit at Marshall Fields.Shortly after Orson's sixth birthday his parent's formally separated, his father taking off and his mother remaing to pursue her music ambitions in Chicago. Welles live most of his time with his mother and Dadda Bernstein, but regularly traveled with his father on holidays.His health effectively kept him out of school until he was eleven, so he had acquired a lot of cultural groundings at home with his mother and the doctor. Fears that he might prove ungovernable like his brother Richard, who had been expelled from school by the age of ten and subsequently banished from home, brought him in 1926 to enrollment in the Todd School for Boys at Woodstock, Illinois, a few months after his mothers death from a liver condition at the age of forty-three. The school was ideally equipped for the nurturing of a young wayward genius.(Taylor) It was run by the proprietor, a terror rejoicing in the name as 'the King'.Todd School had something of a tradition in drama, though mainly lightweight revues, nativity plays and such. In this department Orson soon got his own way. He was before long adapting, directing and starring in: 'Doctor Faustus', 'Everyman', 'Le Medicin Malgre Lui', 'Julius Caesar' with Orson as Cassius, 'Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde', with Orson...

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